Hi :) Does anyone know if there is a way to select individual layers on a canvas in Photoshop without having to select it in the layer window first?

I know I've done it before but I can't remember if it was in illustrator.

  • Crisis averted. I figured it out. It was the auto select option. :) Mar 6, 2013 at 15:12

5 Answers 5


press v (shortcut for selection tool) right click the shape or paint or subject on the particular layer you are after and then select the layers name - that layer will now be active (this becomes more difficult with overlay layers but as long as you have named layers correctly you should be able to figure it out)


In the move tool, just right click on any pixel in the canvas and select the layer from the pop-up context menu.


Hold down the command and the control keys then click on the item. A menu of all the layers beneath your click will appear. Scroll to select the layer you are after.

  1. Switch to Move tool - shortcut " V "
  2. Right-click and select the layer from the list.
  • Hi Alex, welcome to GD.SE! This answer is almost the same one that MephistonX suggested, but feel free to take a look at similar questions on the site, if you are curious and willing there are some unanswered ones you might have a solution for!
    – Yisela
    Mar 7, 2013 at 3:57

Hold down the the Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac) key then click on the object.

  • Note: This only works if the Move Tool has been set to "auto-select". Select the Move Tool and verify the settings in the Control bar across the top of the screen.
    – Scott
    Mar 7, 2013 at 20:13

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